Monday, 18th November 2019

On the History & Mission of American Pride Co-op.

Posted on 03. Jul, 2012 by in Brighton 125th INTERVIEWS

On the History & Mission of American Pride Co-op.

An Interview with Al Shivley,     American Pride Co-op President     & CEO (1967-2003)

In years prior to his assumption of his position as President and CEO of American Pride Co-op, Al Shivley, the 36-year veteran and Co-op management icon, had supervised a filling station back in ‘67.  “When I applied for the job at the Co-op, I really didn’t know what I was getting into.  On my first day, I was shown my office.  But I really had barely sat down to my desk when I was told, ‘we have a problem….’

I was told that there was no payroll.   $450 was actually lacking in order to make the current weekly payroll and the Co-op bank account was completely drained.  My reaction was to jump on a plane to head for our Co-op bank in Wichita – a $29 round trip in those days.  I stepped into the plush offices with a loan request in mind, amid the suits and ties of the executives.  To say the least, I felt a bit out of place.  But I managed to utter the dilemma we faced back at the Co-op and to ask as politely as I could for a loan to cover the payroll.

What I got instead, however, was a string of advice about how my job ought to instead be that of  closing the Co-op.  “If you have no money,” they said, “you have to immediately close the Co-op.”

Coming back to Colorado, I faced few other options but to continue to plead for a cash investment into the Co-op.  I had refused to give up, and at last decided upon talking to one of the Co-op’s members, a farmer named, Frank Wilcox.  I drove out to see him, coming face to face amid a dialog of what had happened to the Co-op.  I plead my case regarding the $450 we needed to stay afloat.  And what I got in return, I’ll never forget.  Leaning forward, Frank pulled out five – one hundred dollar bills and handed them to me.  Having never seen a hundred dollar bill before, I think the experience was all the more memorable.

In hindsight, the decision of one member to save the Co-op has symbolized what it’s been all about.  It’s what has defined our mission and purpose and held us together over the years — support, generosity, and a joint commitment.

[On July 1st, 2012, American Pride Co-op will re-emerge as ‘Agfinity’ a merger between American Pride Co-op and Agland].

 

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